Australians Rhys Mainstone and dual Olympian Melanie Gorman claimed 10km victories and Aus$15,000 each in the Swan River, scene of the inaugural FINA open water world championships back in 1991, at the Aquatic Super Series in Perth.
Hundreds of competitors from South Africa, the USA, New Zealand, Greece and Australia took part in events from 500m to 10km long.
Mainstone (1hr51mins31.91) proved too strong for the 2012 FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix champion and English Channel-crossing record holder Trent Grimsey (1:53:18.48) and Greece’s Evangelos Tsirapidis (1:55:15.97), Mainstone’s training partner at the University of Western Australia under coach Mel Tantrum.
“It’s fantastic, for a day like this, a nice Sunday, with great conditions and to get to race in front of my home town in a fantastic city, is wonderful,” Mainstone said. “This (result and the $15,000 prize) is massive. I work full time and for this to happen, I’m able to cut back on my work and focus more on training and hopefully that will get me better results in the future. The goal for me now is, two weeks to prepare for the national championships where I’ll hopefully perform well again.”
Gorman, on 1:56:49.79, said: “It’s such a beautiful day with nice conditions and it’s really just a good day for a swim. It’s great to see events like this and encouraging people, whether they are elite or not, to get involved in open water swimming. It’s such a great sport and it’s growing around the world.” Malaysian Heidi Gan finished second in 2:02:13.84, with South Australian Leah Cutting third (2:10:13.58).
Like Mainstone, Gorman has her sights set on the Aussie nationals that would grant her a return to world championship waters this summer. “This race was just part of my season plan but obviously the 15 grand prize money was a really big incentive," she said. "I really didn’t taper or anything with nationals coming up but it was a really good hit out to see where I’m at with my training."